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PM Narendra Modi invokes ‘Chai Pe Charcha’ to establish an instant rapport with Indian origin Tamils of Sri Lanka

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PM Narendra Modi. Wikimedia
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Dickoya (Sri Lanka), May 12, 2017: Invoking his famous ‘chai pe charcha’ concept, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday sought to establish an instant rapport with the Indian origin Tamils of Sri Lanka, who dominate the plantation areas that produce the world famous Ceylon tea.

Not just that, he also spoke a couple of sentences in Tamil saying how delighted he was to meet them and how he considered it a big honour to get an opportunity to talk to them.

“I have a special association with tea,” he said as he began addressing the Indian origin Tamils, whose ancestors settled in this part of Sri Lanka about 200 years ago.

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“Discussion over tea”, which he had introduced during the 2014 Lok Sabha election campaign, “was not just a slogan but a mark of deep respect for dignity and integrity of honest labour”, the Prime Minister said.

This assertion was received with thunderous clapping from the audience which also lapped up his quotes from Tamil saint Thiruvalluvar’s Thirukkural and scholar Kaniyan Poonkundranar to recall how ancient was the Tamil race and their message for the world.

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He also said that the plantation area had given birth to the iconic MGR and famous cricketer Muttiah Muralitharan, which again was received with a round of applause.

Modi, on a two-day visit to Sri Lanka primarily to attend the International Vesak Day celebrations, inaugurated a Rs 150 crore super-speciality hospital built with Indian assistance in Dickoya, home to a large Tamil community who are of Indian-origin. (IANS)

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Oli Assures Modi, Nepal’s Territory Won’t Be Used Against India’s Interests

After assuming office in February, Oli made his first foreign visit to India in April.

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Gokhale said that Modi's two-day visit to Nepal was aimed to strengthen bilateral relations
KP Sharma Oli, PM of Nepal, wikimedia commons

Prime Minister K.P. Sharma Oli has told his Indian counterpart Narendra Modi that Nepal’s territory will not be used against New Delhi’s interests, Indian Foreign Secretary Vijay Gokhale said here on Saturday.

“Oli reiterated that they will be sensitive to our concerns and their territory will not be allowed to be used by anybody against India. Prime Minister Modi reciprocated the sentiments,” Gokhale told the media.

Gokhale called Oli’s view “very significant”.

There was a chill in India-Nepal ties during Oli’s earlier stint as Prime Minister between October 2015 and August 2016 when a border blockade blamed on New Delhi crippled Nepal’s economy.

There were also perceptions that Oli was leaning towards China than India.

Gokhale said that Modi’s two-day visit to Nepal was aimed to strengthen bilateral relations “whether it be cross-border electricity or cross-border connectivity”.

“We are looking into cross-border electricity and cross-border connectivity not only with Nepal but other neighbouring countries as well,” he said.

After assuming office in February, Oli made his first foreign visit to India in April.

Stating that India welcomed the restoration of democracy in Nepal, Gokhale said that both the government and the opposition in the Himalayan nation were parties to it.

He said both sides agreed to be committed towards the stated projects. “We will address this within a set timeline.”

Prime Minister, Narendra Modi stressed on the importance of service to others in his last Mann Ki Baat edition for 2017.
Modi is on Nepal visit for two days, wikimedia commons

According to Gokhale, Oli confirmed to Modi that Nepal will host the the Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation (Bimstec) summit this year.

Bimstec comprises seven countries lying in the littoral and adjacent areas of the Bay of Bengal — Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Myanmar, Nepal, Sri Lanka and Thailand.

Gokhale also said that Modi’s visits to cultural sites in Nepal “suggested that there should be strong people-to-people ties”.

Apart from offering prayers at temples in Nepal, the Indian leader inaugurated the Janakpur-Ayodhya bus service, a 900 MW hydropower project and announced Rs 100-crore aid to develop Janakpur city.

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He also held extensive discussions with Oli, President Bidhya Devi Bhandari and other government officials to better bilateral ties after which he said: “All misunderstandings with Nepal are over.”

Modi also met leaders of opposition parties, starting with former Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba and other members of the Nepali Congress.

He exchanged views on strengthening bilateral ties with former Prime Minister and Chairman of the Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist Centre) Pushpa Kamal Dahal “Prachanda”. (IANS)